Why is Beijing hosting the Olympics for the second time in just 14 years?

With only one other option, the IOC decided Beijing was a safe pick for the Winter Olympics

Workers walk past the logos for the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics displayed at Shougang Park in iBeijing, China on Jan. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File) (Ng Han Guan, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

For many cities, hosting the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime event, or at the very least, a once-in-a-generation event.

For Beijing, China, it will be a twice-in-a-generation event.

Just 14 years after hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing is set to make history by becoming the first city to play host to both a Summer and Winter Olympics when it welcomes the world for the start of the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 4.

It’s certainly going to be a different site than usual for the Winter Games, since Beijing most definitely isn’t going to be confused with the Swiss Alps or Scandinavia when it comes to a winter paradise.

Beijing and its outskirts only receive roughly 2 inches of snow a year, with the average high temperature in February being 42 degrees, well above freezing.

Yanqing, located 45 miles northwest of Beijing, and Zhangjiakou, which is 100 miles northwest of Beijing, will host the skiing events that will predominantly take place on artificial snow.

So, why was Beijing chosen as the host city in the first place?

In short, Beijing was only one of two cities that actually wanted to host the Games.

The other was Almaty, Kazakhstan, which had more traditional winter weather and geography in its favor, but didn’t have near the financial clout or infrastructure of Beijing.

In the end, the International Olympic Committee decided Beijing was the safer pick, although the vote in 2015 was only 44-40 in Beijing’s favor.

Other European cities that the IOC hoped would throw their hats into the ring pulled out due to a lack of public support in their countries, understandably scared off by the hefty price tag that comes with staging the Games.

In 2014, Sochi, Russia spent an astounding $51 billion to host.

The result of that vote was a total reformation of the IOC’s bid process to host both Winter and Summer Olympic Games in the future.

Instead of an open-bidding process and an announcement made following an IOC vote seven or eight years in advance, it’s now more of a closed-door process in which cities don’t bid publicly against one another, and where sites can be announced further in advance.

For example, Brisbane, Australia already has been awarded the 2032 Summer Olympics.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.